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Minister must explain breakdown on sex case

Katherine Rich MP
National Party Education Spokeswoman

24 November 2007

Minister must explain breakdown on sex case

National Party Education spokeswoman Katherine Rich says Education Minister Chris Carter needs to explain his staunch defence of the processes around his Ministry’s handling of alleged sex abuse at a Manawatu school.

“Mr Carter labelled me a ‘disgrace’ for attempting to establish a timeline about who knew what and when. His judgment on this matter is now clearly in question.”

Mrs Rich is referring to revelations published this afternoon in the Manawatu Standard. The newspaper alleges that there appears to have been an attempt to cover up a complaint against the school’s principal.

“There are now serious and legitimate questions to be asked about the school’s processes and the reaction from the Education Ministry, in light of Mr Carter’s claim this week that the internal investigation had been ‘thorough and transparent’, and that ‘the board did all the right things’.

“There has clearly been a break-down in communication between the Government agencies involved and the school.

“Mr Carter needs to apologise to the Opposition for raising the way this has been handled, given the claims being made about a cover-up and the three-months that passed before CYF interviewed one complainant.”

Mrs Rich also notes that this week, Mr Carter confirmed there may have been information passed on to the school and the Education Ministry about the principal’s suitability for the job at Hato Paora before he was employed.

“Mr Carter has stonewalled Opposition attempts to get him to take this issue more seriously. He needs to lay out plans for a thorough investigation in light of the new allegations made public today.”


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